The crack problem of a shallow shell with two nonzero curvatures is considered. It is assumed that the crack lies in one of the principal planes of curvature and the shell is under Mode I loading condition. The material is assumed to be specially orthotropic. After giving the general formulation of the problem the asymptotic behavior of the stress state around the crack tip is examined. The analysis is based on Reissner's transverse shear theory. Thus, as in the bending of cracked plates, the asymptotic results are shown to be consistent with that obtained from the plane elasticity solution of crack problems. Rather extensive numerical results are obtained which show the effect of material orthotropy on the stress intensity factors in cylindrical and spherical shells and in shells with double curvature. Other results include the stress intensity factors in isotropic toroidal shells with positive or negative curvature ratio, the distribution of the membrane stress resultant outside the crack, and the influence of the material orthotropy on the angular distribution of the stresses around the crack tip.